Meagre allocation of funds may delay Kothapalli-Manoharabad Rail line

Only ₹235 crore sanctioned by the Union government for the project as against Rs.1500 Crore!

HYDERABAD: The ambitious Kothapalli-Manoharabad railway line — the only railway line to connect Karimnagar district headquarters to Secunderabad — is likely to be delayed further if one goes by the meagre allocation in the Railway Budget by the Union government.

Only ₹235 crore was allocated for the project in Budget for 2020-21. With this, the project cost, which was estimated at ₹1,160 crore, has jumped to ₹1,500 crore.

KCR’s ambitious project

It may be recalled that Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had proposed the ambitious Kothapalli-Manoharabad railway line connecting the temple towns of Vemulawada and Komuravelli, and Sircilla, Siddipet and Gajwel towns, when he was the Karimnagar MP in 2004.

Following the Chief Minister’s request, the government had allocated ₹10 crore to conduct a survey in 2006. Then, the project cost was estimated at ₹1,160 crore to lay the 151-km line.

Later, the Railways informed that the project was not feasible.

But the Chief Minister assured to bear one-third of the project cost, and give land free of cost to the Railways. When the Railways told him about incurring losses, Mr. KCR consented for annuity payment for the first five years after the completion of the project.

Chugging along

After so many assurances from the State government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the project in August 2016 and the Railways had allocated ₹350 crore in the 2017-18 Budget, and ₹150 crore in 2018-19, ₹200 crore in 2019-20, and ₹235 crore in 2020-21.

The first phase of the railway line measuring 32 km from Manoharabad to Gajwel was completed. The second phase from Gajwel to Siddipet was progressing after completion of land acquisition.

The third phase from Siddipet to Sircilla should be taken up after completion of land acquisition.

Now, in Sircilla town, the Railways needs to construct a huge bridge like the Rajahmundry Bridge across the Godavari on the Mid Manair Dam reservoir following the backwaters touching the textile town.

160 more bridges

The railway line requires another 160 bridges, seven road-over-bridges, 49 road-under-bridges and 13 railway stations. These include Nacharam, Iranagaram, Gajwel, Kodakandla, Lakhadaram, Duddeda, Siddipet, Gurralagondi, Chinnalingapur, Sircilla, Vemulawada, Boinpalli and Vedira.

Meanwhile, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) district unit leaders flayed the Railways for meagre allocation to the Kothapalli-Manoharabad railway line when it was making huge profits from Karimnagar railway station following transportation of granite, and farm produce to other parts of the country.